Tuesday, 23 April 2013

A-Z Entry Closet

It is a happy happy day here at the MacDonald/Gaudett household! Not only is it Roberts arrival day, which we are up and over the moon about, buuuttt it is also entry closet reveal day!

Booya Grandma! Woot Woot! Bow-chicka-wow-wow! What What!!

Alright...maybe I am getting a little carried away here. But truthfully, the only thing that makes me more excited than a well organized, highly functional space is the arrival home of my opposite-sex common-law partner! And they are both happening on the very same day so I am officially loosing it over here. {Finley and Moe are too but they just cant seem to express it in as many words!}

But I digress... Back to the closet. Shall we recall the original state we founded it in {Introduced here}.

Blah! This closet was just not doing the trick - which is clear as day in these photos. It is a small space to begin with and having every bin and basket overflowing did not help matters. 

But today that same space is whistling a different tune. 

Much easier on the eyes. Don't you think? And honestly, I am lov-ing how user friendly it is for the whole family. 

Care for a closer looksey?

First things first, we added this second shelf for easy rotation of seasonal items. I've always been a firm believer that closet space is prime real-estate in a home, so why not maximize it?!

And continuing with that train of thought, we added basic hooks to this narrow wasted space for additional storage. I picked up three buckets at the local Dollarstore to separate those everyday, quick in and out, items. 

1. Mail, Keys, Sunglasses, iPods, & Chargers
2. Bitty Shoes
3. On the Go: Umbrella, Sunscreen, Chalk, Puppy Poop Bags, etc.
Finn and I are loving these buckets - but for different reasons. I find it so handy to have everything in one spot. This avoids dealing with misplaced items and helps lessen the likelihood of forgetting anything when rushing out the door. Finn on the other hand enjoys his new game of emptying his shoes onto the floor. {Little does he know, soon he will be asked to go fetch his own shoes because they are within reach.}

*Keep in mind, when hanging your hooks, that your family is ever evolving. You want your design choices to change and grow with you. For that reason, we opted to make the top hook a tad farther apart than the bottom two. This will allow me to change up what I place here in the future - yoga mat, backpack, Finley's coat when he is a bit taller, etc. Planning ahead will make all the difference in how you are able to use your space.

*Already I have switched up the order of the bins to have the Mail & Keys in the centre for easier access.

As far as the shelving goes, we switched out those oh-so-small plastic bins for these larger-than-life collapsible ones {marketed as magazine holders}. Nothing will be overflowing out of these bad boys! And with the homemade tags we whipped up, everything will easily find its way home. This space is fool-proof! {Which honestly - who are we kidding - is exactly what this household needs!}

Another angle of these beauts for ya!
We have gone from the top of our heads, now down to the shoes on our feet. Which I personally always struggle with in an entry space. I don't love those flimsy shoe racks you can buy and am not willing to commit to cleaning low built ins at this point in my life, so am left twiddling my thumbs {or toes if you will.} I have in the past resorted to a huge bin or basket but can never seem to find my shoes mate in a hurry and end up scampering outside in my slippers. So this time we are giving a few smaller baskets a whirl {along with the seasonal/less active footwear stored in the trunk - pictured here}.

Shoes do not make for the most appealing photo - my apologies. But you get the idea. I am findingthat the two separate baskets for different styles of footwear really seem to do the trick. You can quickly locate and grab the pair you want and just replace them to the front when you are done. Easy-peasy lemon squeezy!

And if you are wondering what is hidden in that smaller basket with the lid...

Surprise! Shoe cleaning supplies! {And Finn's inflatable pool for the summer - which I don't want to forget we have.}  I have honestly had these guys in every logical spot I can think of around here - the cleaning supplies closet, our master closet where most of our leather shoes reside - but they just never get used because they are a hike and a half away. They really need to be readily accessible if they are going to get used. Heres to hoping!

Put that all together and what have you got? Bippity, Boppit, Boo...

...a fresh, well organized space that can basically maintain itself.

Can I get a, 'Booya Grandma! Woot Woot! Bow-chicka-wow-wow! What What!!'

*Ill keep you posted on just how 'fool proof' it really is!

Chat soon!

Monday, 22 April 2013

Labelling Toward a Better Tomorrow

We have finally made some progress around here. Thank heavens! I was beginning to think this blogs sole purpose was a sort of 'sharing how-to in reverse' {channelling 'How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days' anyone?}. Weren't you??

Well fear not! We have managed to create a lovely plethora of labels for the entryway that will help improve its functionality ten fold - and they are cute ta' boot.

Shall we?...

I took a simple 'tag' approach, as you can see. A classic look done with a bit of twist. Classic = Will not need a switch up for a while {cheers to that!}. Twist = A bit of an upgrade from the same old thing. Win, Win. And they are easy-peasy to make. Triple victory!

*I had mentioned on Friday that we were working on these. At the time, I had a completely different vision in mind. Like-a-so...

I guess I was feeling more cheerful than I realized that day because I chose a zillion paper options and funky lettering. Before long I was finding things too busy and worried I would get sick of it long before Ill want to sit down and redo {we are moving forward around here, not in circles}. So a quick change in the game plan and we were back on track.

So, Ill give you a quick walk through:

Select your paper style(s).

Flip the paper to its backside and line up tag shape. {I used a pre made style but you could just as easily create one to suit your specific needs and taste.} Trace the stencil. {I opted to extend the length.}

Then just cut it out. Basic.

At this point I added an eyelet because they save the tag from tearing easily. But you most certainly could opt for a hole punch instead. Whatever you prefer.

If going ahead with the eyelets, apply a mark where you would like to place it.

Make sure you place something thick beneath the tag before using the tool to make the hole. Or else!! Then fill your boots.

Place your eyelet in the newly punched hole with the shanking facing up. 

Flip the tool over and place the setter into the eyelet. Pull up on the tool and let go. This hammering motion will set the eyelet. You may have to do it several times.

And there you have it. Add your lettering and/or pretties and you are good. to. go.

This tag is for one of the baskets on my new and improved upper shelf. I added a second pattern and raised it up because it will add visual appeal and draw the eye up just that much further.

All you have left is to attach the tag to your bin/basket. String the eyelet, tie, and go. 

A quick and easy DIY that will add character to any space.

*To avoid having every tag look exactly the same, I did make several versions.

*And to keep with the black, brown, cream, and white theme, this too will be found in that closet somewhere.

Check back soon to find out where!

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Spring Spruce Up

Flowers of the week.
{A gift from my sister in law for hanging out with the kids.}
This time of year, when mother nature starts to give us Maritimers a little break, an automatic alarm seems to go off inside of me. A switch from 'lazy' winter mode to 'extreme turbo' happens in a split second sending everyone and everything running for cover. 

I attribute this 360 degree change to the weather mostly. After a long cold winter, I throw open the windows and doors and escape the cabin fever that engulfs us. Everyone else seems to do the same. Our street has been taken over by kiddos on their bikes and trikes, busy bee neighbours working in their yards, and everyone and their momma out for early morning all the way through to late night strolls. 

And this gal is in her glory! All of us here at the MacDonald/Gaudett household are loving every single itty bitty second of it. We finally get to pull out some of our lighter jackets and tuck away those bulky handmade wool sweaters {scored at Frenchies and loathed by the Common-Law}. The 'Spring Clean' gets cranked up to the next level. Out with the yard tools. In with the windex and paper towels. And this is the time of year for 'the list' to really take centre stage and shine! We can enjoy weather and be productive at the same time. Music to my ears.

But not just the house and yard need attention. After a cold winters worth of neglect, I need to turn some of that turbo energy inward. Which is why I have made, you've guessed it, yet another list. Winter  around these parts takes a toll on a person. It just drains all the warmth out of you making it difficult to stay motivated and leaves you all scraggly and plump, no sharp edges in sight. Thus, the much needed list.

Most people make their yearly resolutions at New Years. I make them too, but never follow through. I cant even remember what mine where this year. But when spring time rolls around and the warm sun shines its face, I hop right back on the resolution band wagon. A few seemingly menial goals will make all the difference for the season ahead. {And if I do really well with these, I will tack on a few more. Capeesh?}

Drum roll please...
  • Walk Moe twice a day. {Simple right? Good for him. Good for Finn. Good for finding those sharp edges again.}
  • Shower, Dry/Straighten Hair, apply Makeup three times a week. {Simple right? Will make all the difference I am sure.}
  • Try a new recipe once a week. {Simple right?}
  • Read a book {Does't have to be rocket science or philosophy. Just a little light reading. Simple right?}
And thats it. Nothing mind blowing. Just a few simple things that I don't always, or sometimes ever, take the time to do. But they will make all the difference in how I think and feel about myself.

What about you? Do you make resolutions or set goals for yourself this time of year? Care to share with the group?

Hope to hear back from you. And if not, chat soon!

Friday, 19 April 2013

Chit Chat

Are you up for a quick chat my friend?

Go grab a hot beverage and snack of choice and let's settle in for a little gossip.

So, what is new with you?

Sure, I'll go first. Why not?

It certainly has been a week. And that is putting it mildly. I shared a little with you earlier about some of the tricks my mind has been playing on me, which you can read about here if your mind is anything like mine and have forgotten. But since then things have been up and down - just a tiny smidge.

Finley and I went to visit a girlfriend of mine, Amy, and her two sweet boys yesterday afternoon. Us Mommas  managed to enjoy a quiet meal and white mochas with dessert while all three boys took well needed naps. Can you say 'heaven?' When the little monsters woke from their peaceful slumbers they hit the ground running and passed a lovely afternoon. When it came time to head out I packed Finely in the car and scooted quickly inside to grab my bag while my girlfriend used my NEW phone to look at something online. Her attention was quickly distracted toward something one of the boys was doing and she absentmindedly placed the phone on the roof of my car. Of course I didnt think to locate my phone before taking off and managed to miss the white/grey object directly in front of me as I crawled into the car {genius that I am}. Im sure you can predict the rest of the story. I drove off, happy as a clam after my lovely afternoon...The End. Not.

It wasn't until I came through the doors here at home and got Mr. Finn settled that I realized my phone was MIA. You see, I had a ladies night planned with the gals from our neighbourhood and I was responsible for calling in the food and had yet to collect one order. Without panicking, I dialled Amy to ask her to please bring the phone along when she came to town later that evening. There was no phone of mine at their home and quickly the pieces of the puzzle fell into place. Enter instant panic! My phone was somewhere between her home and mine, some 20 minutes away. Awesome. Let me tell you. I was F.R.E.A.K.I.N.G. O.U.T! Common-law would have murdered me dead right then and there, clear across the country, had I lost my brand new gadget of a phone.

Thankfully, and I mean that from the deepest core of my person, Amy's husband came to the rescue! We located the phone via the iMac and pointed him in the right direction. Off he and the dog went until they come home loot in hand! And exhale! Memorable to say the very least.

As a result of the repeated mishaps and obstacles I have encountered this week, Finley and I need to keep things close to home until our luck changes. Thus, the chat over coffee with you fine people and the state of my home - specifically the dinning room table.

Productivity Central
 Lists are a-growin', labels are a-comin', and colour schemes are a-brewin' {along with the coffee}.

Potential Labels for the Entry. I'll keep you posted on the end result!
Colour Scheme?
I've decided to add our new pillow purchase to the mix in the entry for now. Along with some of these paper options. What do you think?

Anyways... Enough about me. Whats new with you???

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Measuring for Success

Can you find the commonality between the photos below?

{Modern Living Room}
{Lakeside Bedroom}
{Floral Bathroom}
{Chic Lounging}
{Living Large}
Okay, okay. Yes, technically there are many commonalities. Fine, whatever.

But for our purposes today there is a single correct answer. And the prize goes to...Area Rugs! {Or Mats, if you prefer.}

Now that you know what you were looking for, I would encourage you to scroll on up and take a second look. Because not only does each space have an area rug but, in my humble opinion, they are also well suited in size and proportion as well as pattern/colour - a difficult feat.

Lets be frank - area rugs are expensive! However, they are an investment worth taking because they are a key component to a complete and successful space. A well fitted area rug sets the stage for everything on and around it - it literally grounds a beautiful space. That being said, like love, a good area rug is hard to find {at least in these parts}. I am committed to finding just the right one for each of my spaces that will live and be loved for many years to come.

When that day arrives, I want to be prepared. So, I have devised a little plan so that I can be 100% confident to pull the trigger. Care to take a little looksey?

This is a photo of my entryway floor and all its glory. {I know you cant help but admire that cushion and slipcover! Learn all about it and associated drama here.} As much as I love the natural feel this little   mat has to offer, it just isn't big enough to do the job I require of it. When we have company, or anytime Common-law is home, shoes and their mess end up all around but not on this tiny guy. But, there isn't an excess of space for a humungo-jumbo option either. Solution? 

How do you feel about this size? 

Taping off different size options will give you a feel for what you really want and can realistically accommodate in your space. {This goes for mats/area rugs to furniture placement/size and everything in between}.

Just slightly bigger than what we currently have, a mat the size of the tape {5x4} would be just that much more efficient.

The process is quick and easy. Just put your measuring tape down to the length and widths that look and feel right to you, then lay the tape. You could even try two sizes at once if there were question {or debate} and can easily lift the tape to move if you are not satisfied right away.

Another option is newspaper or fliers. Just as quick. {Though not as efficient in my experience when trying two or more shapes and sizes at once.}

How do you feel about an area rug this size for our living room {Do ignore its lack of splendour. It is a work in progress}? It would be a biggy - coming in at 10x12. But in my mind this size and a neutral pallet would really have a huge impact on this space. 

Im going to leave the tape down for a while to really get a feel for the size. Ill move the furniture around to see if various layouts would still fit within the boundaries. Keeping in mind that this area rug is an investment piece and will be with us for a long time, I will also consider the furniture that I would like to incorporate down the road: Two chairs in loo of the love seat. A different coffee table, this one is actually Finn's craft table {the wee chairs are downstairs}. And a window bench {which I tapped off to have a better visual}.

I recommend you do the same. Plan ahead so that you do not have any regrets after such a large and costly purchase.

Keep in mind, Common-law arrives home on Tuesday. He will most likely have a smaller/cheaper area rug in mind. The beauty of the tape - once he adds his dimensions within, he will prove my point for me. I'll keep you posted!

Chat soon.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

What Not To Do, To Do

This Momma is tired.

I have put dish soap in the sink and 'filled' it without putting the stopper in. Paid Roberts balance owing for his income tax to my SIN {still trying to fix that one up}. Absentmindedly forgot Moe's water dish on the floor countless times, only to find Finn covered in water from head to toe. Had the genius idea to pick up Moe poops during a wind storm and as the wind blew the pick up bag I grabbed poop after poop in my bare hand {Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, poop on me} And best of all, changed Finns bum and fully redressed before realizing he wasn't wearing a diaper. *I seem to be having a 'poopy' week.

One instance of the water bowl.
{Being photographed because after the 5th wardrobe change I found my sense of humour}
Poor guy is in desperate need of a friend when his role model is the family pet...
{And honestly, Moe is the messiest dog to ever take a drink} 
I cant begin to imagine why these things keep happening...

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I have not had a full nights sleep in over a year {almost 10 month old babe + at least 3 months of regular nightly trips to the toilet = that not so glamorous truth}, am scatterbrained to begin with, and have been staying up late scurrying around the house with light pitter patter productive feet.

Please note that I am in no way complaining - just merely sharing my scary mental state. I thought it would be selfish {not sealfish spellcheck!} to keep my embarrassing moments a secret. Why not brighten your day?

So, at the expense of my mental clarity, allow me to introduce one of my late night ventures.

Impressed? *Make sure we are all looking at the same thing here. It is the {somewhat} successful slip covered cushion sitting on the vintage trunk that we are all ogling - NOT the trunk itself. I know I am impressive {not to mention humble} but give me a break - I cant remember to pick up a dog dish these days!

I am proud of myself...that I made it through to the end of this project without throwing it in the trash or lighting a fire in the yard just to burn it! And I am not being extreme in the least. Let me tell you...

I just had it in my mind that the trunk needed to morph from functional storage in a small space to all that AND welcoming bench. I didn't stop to think. {'How does one make a slip cover?' or 'Sewing is not your forte Allison!' would have been appropriate thoughts along the way. But no.} I just hauled my fam to the fabric store and forced common-law to have input when I was going to pick what I liked anyways {recall the sneak peak}. Came home determined to sew a slip cover - zipper and all. A first for both.

'Not the sharpest tool in the shed.' There - I said it for you.

I got set to work... {Warning: Do not use this as reliable instruction. I had to wing it by the end.}

Gathered all necessary supplies.

  • Sewing Machine and Gear
  • Foam
  • Cutting Surface
  • Fabric Cutter
  • Pins
  • Fabric And Zipper
  • Measuring Tape
  • Right Angle Tool {??}
  • Sharp Knife
There is the 'Right Angle Tool' listed above.
Cut the foam to size. *If you cant purchase it pre cut to the size needed.

Then I cut all the fabric pieces I needed all at once {6 in total}. Because I was working with a stripe, I wanted to ensure no slip ups later on with directionality. Keeping in mind that I wanted the slip cover to fit nice and snug I cut a quarter of an inch less than the foam itself {plus the seam allowance}.

I then sewed three of the four 17' pieces together {top, front, and bottom}.

Now for the zipper. After a minor freakout {because I didn't have the first clue about sewing a zipper}, I pulled myself together and turned to google. I found this fantastic blog, Make it & Love it, and a step by step post she had done about installing zippers. Few. My sanity saved.

I followed her direction. Cut the fourth side in half, sewed the two pieces together, then ironed the seam down flat. {Check out the her blog post to get a detailed play by play}

I then taped the zipper face down on the ironed pleat.

 Placing a pin at the bottom of the zipper, I set to work sewing.

After a few tears, sips of coffee, and phone calls to Robert I had success!! Booya!

The zipper piece was then added to the other block to finish it off. 

Enter problem. I have four of the six pieces I had cut sewn together but have no way of adding the end pieces without creating a mother of all messes. Reason? Because when sewing a cushion cover you only need 4 fabric pieces: top, bottom, one middle band, and the zipper piece {For reliable direction I, after the fact, recommend this post from Honey Bear Lane.  

In my state of frenzy, and embarrassment, I stopped photographing until I managed to get one end on and not have it look like a demented monster. 

And Ta - Da! I made it through! Bazinga!

Though my ego has taken a beating I am proud of myself for pulling through and turning out a decent product - on the outside {no one will EVER see the inside of that slip cover. EVER.} I hope we have all learned from my mistake. Slow down. Take the time to actually figure out what the heck you are setting out to do. And in my case, remind myself that, 'Sewing is not your forte Allison!'

Needless to say, I don't foresee another sewing project in my immediate future.

But since we made it this far, lets at least look at the difference it makes.

The before and after are enough to justify the efforts. Do you agree? The cushion says, 'Welcome to our humble abode. Sit, rest, allow me to lighten your load.' Does it not? {And just wait until we get that wall decorated with some pretties. It will be screaming those words!} *Moe insisted on being a part of the shoot! He is frustrated that he isn't getting enough face time.

And finally, a peak inside the infamous trunk! Such a useful space to store seasonal and occasional footwear! I love that they are tucked out of site yet not so far away that it is a major effort to fetch them when needed.

Hoping your mind is in a better place than mine on this Wednesday afternoon and that you at least got a little giggle {or deep belly laugh} at my expense.

Chat soon!

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